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Reducing Maternal and Infant Health Disparities

Creating better service, practice and outcomes for healthy Black moms and babies

In America, Black women are 3-4 times more likely to experience a pregnancy-related death than white women. The U.S. has the highest maternal and infant mortality rate among comparable countries.

Read more about maternal and infant health disparities

How wayside is addressing maternal health disparities

Wayside Recovery Center understands that the maternal and infant mortality crisis cannot be adequately addressed without understanding and dismantling racism and bias in our medical and behavioral health systems. We also understand that the complexities of the crisis require community-based responses. This means not only addressing the stigma associated with substance use disorders and mental illness, but also recognizing the inequalities that persist across the behavioral health system.

We owe it to the women and families we serve to play an active role in addressing healthcare gaps.

With support from the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), Wayside is hosting a free public education Project ECHO series that focuses on fostering collaboration between patients, community and health practitioners to deliver high-quality care to Black mothers, infants and their families.

To receive regular invites about future events in this series, sign up online.

All sessions are scheduled for 12-1 p.m. CST.

*CME available
**CEU available

Tamara Moore

Jan 26 
Expecting and Parenting Youth: An Exploration of Needs and Value Systems* 
Tamara Moore, MSW, LGSW
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This presentation highlights the needs of youth who are expecting or parenting and explores the value system of which they are served. Addressing the wellbeing of this population creates an intersection between child welfare and the medical field and must be done collaboratively to be effective. The needs and values related to adolescents that are expecting or parenting will be explored through both a child welfare and a medical social work perspective.



Calvin WilliamsFeb 9
Fathers and Perinatal Health**
Calvin Williams, CLC
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This presentation will use the relevant literature on factors affecting the mental health of men, with a focus on fathers during the perinatal period, to assist mental healthcare professionals in supporting families more holistically, and facilitating more positive outcomes for mothers and children. The workshop includes first person accounts, via video, of the challenges that fathers can face with anxiety and depression in the perinatal.



Cirecie West-OlatunjiFeb 10
Transgenerational Trauma* 

Dr. Cirecie West-Olatunji
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This presentation focuses on the role of Transgenerational Trauma in the mental and physical health and wellbeing of BIPOC mothers. A review of existing research will be offered to highlight the impact of structural bias in various social sectors on maternal and infant health. Participants will learn 5 social justice-oriented strategies that they can adopt to minimize the effects of systemic oppression for women and infants, in particular.




Calvin WilliamsFeb 23
Fathers Are Not Born, They Are Made**
Mr. Calvin Williams, CLC
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This presentation will examine men’s predisposition to fatherhood, and the psychosocial, psychological, physiological transitions undertaken as men move into their fatherhood role; and what it all means for mothers and children, specifically how to use this knowledge to inform how mental healthcare professionals can engage and support fathers as assets for healthy mother and child outcomes.



Shanika Clarke and Michelle Henderson

March 3
Doulas Are So Much More** 
Shanika Clarke & Michelle Henderson
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Doulas Shanika Clarke and Michelle Henderson will discuss their experience as doulas and how this work has intersected with their careers in healthcare and the criminal justice system.



Amy LangenfeldMarch 9
Opioid Use Disorder in Pregnancy: Beyond the Stigma to Evidence-Based Treatment* 
Amy E. Langenfeld, APRN, CNM, PMHNP-BC
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Cresta Jones

March 16
Perinatal Substance Use & Reporting Laws* 
Dr. Cresta Jones, MD, FACOG
Register Now

Description coming soon.







Sharan Raman

March 23
Pregnancy, Food & Eating for Two*
Dr. Sharan Rahman, MD, MBA, NCMP
Register Now

Dr. Sharan A. Rahman will discuss the importance of nutrition, knowing what to eat and what to avoid during pregnancy.

This spring, we will be hosting a training bootcamp for medication-assisted treatment (MAT) services, focusing on culturally-responsive care approaches to MAT in working with African American and East African women and families experiencing substance use disorders. This event will be presented in partnership with YourPath Health and with support from the Minnesota DHS.

Our goal is to conduct these trainings in person, but Wayside pledges to follow the Minnesota State and CDC Guidelines for in-person events. Wayside will announce training mode (virtual or in-person) no later than January 20. Please register for the Zoom event to reserve your spot.

Please reach out to Nicole Fernandez at with any questions or to register in advance.

MAT Bootcamp
Thursday, April 21
8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Register Now 

DEA Training
Friday, April 22
8:30 am - 12:30 pm
Register Now

Funded fully or in part through the State Opioid Response (SOR) grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Minnesota Department of Human Services (MN DHS). Nothing in these materials constitutes a direct or indirect endorsement by SAMHSA or the MN DHS of content, services, or policies.